Sight Unseen

Date
2018-01-01
Authors
Uriyo, Angela
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Abstract

There are 1.3 million visually-impaired (VI) people in the United States (National Federation of the Blind, 2017), whose clothing needs and wants are largely ignored by designers. Addressing their needs and wants increases their social participation by reducing incidences of isolation (Kabel, McBee-Black & Dimka, 2016), and potentially could increase their independence and overall quality of life. Sight Unseen was the result of a study with the objective of developing a design prototype to address the clothing needs and wants of VI women. A four-stage research process was undertaken to ascertain the specific symbolic and functional values that VI participants assigned importance to, and a design prototype was developed. Sight Unseen is a wrap-around cape secured with an attached belt. The design features a convertible collar and a fastener-free center front opening for easy donning and doffing. Large accordion pockets slide on and off the belt for storage of assistive devices, and also make for versatile styling. This design was made from a bottom-weight fabric composed of a white mesh fused with a black laser cut neoprene overlay in an abstract floral design. The fabric composite was 86% polyester and 4% spandex. Belt and pockets were constructed from black 100% polyester fabric.

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